“I am not interested in following the rules” – Artist, Fasola Gideon reveals
Fasola Gideon is a graduate of Ibadan Polytechnic, Ibadan, Nigeria. He holds a Diploma (2010) in Art and Design. In 2011 he became the CEO and Art Director of Àràdisé Studio. Gideon is a passionate and dynamic artist. He is interested in poetry and language, and has what might be described as a “metaphorical imagination”. He is since 2012 the Official Graphic Designer for Tatiwere News Magazine and in 2015, he became one of the pioneer Artists at Portraits Africa.
We recently interviewed him as regards his works, inspiration and art generally.
If we were going to talk about your art, where would you want to start?
From my childhood. Because it is very vital to my story.
What does the splitting in your Face of Me portrait connote?
The portrait represents everything about my art and it’s my icon everywhere on internet. This sole reason is why I use my face, the color split part represents my unconventional painting skill because I am not interested in following the rules. The pencil part represents my drawing skill; the background contains araism and my usual patterns.
Face of me
Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting or the way it is executed?
Both are very important to me, but considering the impact I want the artwork to have on beholders, it’s the subject that is more important.
Your work is distinct for a phenomenon you term Araism, can you explain this in simple terms and further school us how this dimension of art came about for you?
Araism derives its connotation from a Yoruba root word, Ara (wonder). It also expresses an artistic application, which spells out the acronym, A.R.A. translating to Aesthetically Rich Art. It is an original African painting technique created and developed by Mufu Onifade, a product of constant studio experiments that lasted seven years (1989 – 1996) Araism is therefore, the fusion of ara (wonder) and ARA (The Acronym). The journey began in 1989, when, having been efficiently grounded in the introductory assimilation of world art history, coupled with his understanding of Nigerian art, its proponent, MufuOnifade, decided to create an authentic signature that would give his art a strong sense of direction and originality. This decision became imperative in view of the saturated art market in Lagos where he has been residing since 1973.
I first heard about Araism at school (The Polytechnic Ibadan) 2009, when one of my lecturers who was a former student of the school and Mufu Onifade’s colleague mentioned Araism and how exceptional Mufu Onifade was. I thereafter embarked on getting in contact with Mufu Onifade which was successful. I started studying his works alongside the works of other Araism disciples and during that time – because it is majorly what the movement promotes- I decided to also be distinct with my works. I started using pencil and pen to create araism artworks as opposed to colour and palette knife which was the original way.
We are struck by the homeliness in your works, the familiarity even in the most distant of them, is there any particular reason you believe to be why your works even in all their complexity resonate with the simplest of people?
Because my artworks are about people, especially the simplest of people, because they center on issues that affect many people, I have to render it in a way that appeals to the minds of basically everyone, even in our diversity. I do not like works that are just real or beautiful, for me, they need to have deeper meaning. I love works that speak to comfort, educate, move people’s souls to newer dimensions, works that are about our Culture and People or our everyday Life and Activities.
What artist would you say influences your work most?
Two Artists, Samson John and Mufu Onifade.
Where do you believe your creativity comes from?
I believe it’s generic, creativity runs in my family. My father is a photographer who drew a lot -though not professionally. My mother is a fashion designer, and a confectioner, my elder brother is a major graphic designer and can equally draw. I have elder and younger sisters that are very verse in hairdressing, bead making, Ankara craft, makeover. Basically, creativity really just runs in the blood of all the members of my family and there’s no way I would have been an exception.
Joys of Childhood
What plans do you have as regards your art in the near future?
To do solo exhibitions of artworks that are poetry based, music based, and about the richness of some of our cultures that are not often regarded again. Of course, It may take time, lots of hardwork and support from others, but I am sure of one thing and that is- once I have been able to conceive an idea, to plan and put things together, I’m certainly achieving it.
Featured Image: Fasola Gideon: Happiness Costs no Money
You can find (purchase) more of his works on his website